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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Did Sheriff Dupnik drop the ball?

By Jennifer Rubin

The New York Times reports:

The police were sent to the home where Jared L. Loughner lived with his family on more than one occasion before the attack here on Saturday that left a congresswoman fighting for her life and six others dead, the Pima County Sheriff's Department said on Tuesday....

The news of police involvement with the Loughners suggests that county sheriff's deputies were at least familiar with the family, even if the reason for their visits was unclear as of Tuesday night.

The loquacious Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has many theories, unsupported and increasingly unbelievable, to explain the shooting. Now we know at least this, from the Times:

The new details from [friend Zane] Gutierrez about Mr. Loughner -- including his philosophy of anarchy and his expertise with a handgun, suggest that the earliest signs of behavior that may have ultimately led to the attacks started several years ago.

Mr. Gutierrez said his friend had become obsessed with the meaning of dreams and their importance. He talked about reading Friedrich Nietzsche's book "The Will To Power" and embraced ideas about the corrosive, destructive effects of nihilism -- a belief in nothing. And every day, his friend said, Mr. Loughner would get up and write in his dream journal, recording the world he experienced in sleep and its possible meanings.

Here's my theory: A mentally deranged young man was never treated or effectively prevented from buying guns. The sheriff didn't pick up on anything, despite repeated contact with the shooter. Six people then died. Well, that bears some semblance to the facts, and, moreover, explains why the sheriff would rather cast blame elsewhere.

Maybe it's time to cut out the blame game and at least have discussion that is related to the facts -- about treatment of and institutionalization rules for the mentally ill, for example. And yes, we need to look at how mentally unstable people still manage to get access to guns. Meanwhile, the people of Pima County can decide if they are being well served.

By Jennifer Rubin  | January 12, 2011; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Arizona shooting  
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Next: Left gives up on guns, moves on to mental health

Comments

Jennifer, you're an attorney. You know that a felony CONVICTION is required to be banned from buying guns.

The only people who could have avoided this are the parents by an involuntary committal. One look at the mug shot and you know that despite their public befuddlement, this could not have taken them by aurprise.

Posted by: 54465446 | January 12, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

defining "mentally unstable" is getting too difficult these days.

might want to add how to deal with rejection - 65 job applications, and apparently no dates with women, being asked to leave college - clearly the parents should be locked up for failing to produce a functioning citizen. Probably a few elementary school teachers who also need to be locked up. do not omit the need to regulate online video gaming.

Give us all a break and focus on the impact of allowing the 1994 assault weapons ban to lapse in 2004, and Arizona's very permissive, actual absence of gun control.

sillier and sillier. You need the Contentions synergy.

Posted by: K2K2 | January 12, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I believe a restraining order will also prevent gun purchase without a background check. The anti-gun zealots will use any excuse. If the young man with the gun had walked out of Walgreen's five minutes earlier, some of those people wight still be alive. He was armed. The Virginia Tech victims could have used him.

Posted by: mtkennedy | January 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Pima County Sheriff's office and other law enforcement agencies extended professional courtesy to the Loughner family because of Amy Loughner's status as a County wildlife officer.

Posted by: DRJ4 | January 12, 2011 2:37 PM | Report abuse

In other words, did law enforcement "overlook" or even help resolve Jared's problems because the mother was a County employee, perhaps based on family assurances things would be handled?

Posted by: DRJ4 | January 12, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

No permit to purchase is required for handguns in Arizon, just to carry (unconcealed).

Instead they have something called a "prohibited possesor".

There are several categories of that, you can find them here:

http://crime.about.com/od/gunlawsbystate/p/gunlaws_az.htm

I'm not an attorney, but I don't think Loughner technically fell into any of them.

Altough it sounds like he could have if he had had been ordered to undergo treatment for his obvious nuttiness (I believe that's the technical term)....

"A prohibited possessor includes a person found to constitute a danger to himself or others pursuant to a court order and whose court ordered treatment has not been terminated."

Posted by: KriegerWP | January 12, 2011 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Another sign that Leftists should never ever be given positions of power.

This dipstick was too busy sucking up to the nuts at DU, MSNBC and Daily Kos by refusing to apply the laws approved by the citizens of Arizona to deal with little things like doing his JOB!!!

Little Sheriff Dipstick was one of the proud little leftist Arizona officials who refuse to enfore the immigration laws of enacted by the citizens of Arizona. He was hoping to get a lovefest with the nuts on MSNBC.

NEVER EVER VOTE FOR A LEFTIST!

Posted by: LogicalSC | January 12, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

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